Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beer-Battered Fish and Chips

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

This year, I decided to approach this favorited green-beer holiday in a new way -- by honoring my Irish forefathers with a homemade meal, straight from Dublin.

Originally, I had my eyes set on corned beef and cabbage. However, mere hours before dinner time I realized corned beef takes days to prepare due to the brining process. So, after some thought, I decided upon today's fried feature. Now, I'm sure you're thinking, "But Maegan, isn't fish and chips an English dish?" And to you I say, it sure is! But, such fried glory doesn't stop with just England. In fact, around the same time the dish became popular in Great Britain, an Italian immigrant sold the first "one and one" outside pubs in Dublin, making this meal the perfect accompaniment to your St. Patty's Day bar crawl.

2-3 medium potatoes, cut to preferred chip thickness
1 small bottle organic canola oil

Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy-weight, high-walled pan. I use a cast-iron dutch oven. Place a popcorn kernel in the oil; it will pop when the oil is ready for frying. Using a fry basket, begin to fry the potatoes in batches until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. Reserve the frying oil for the fish.

Lightly season the chips with sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper. I also added chopped dill and bourbon smoked paprika for zest.

Beer Batter
1 1/2 - 2 lbs pollack
3 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp Kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
10-12 oz smoked beer or porter
1/2 bunch fresh dill, chopped

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and spices. Using a whisk, slowly add the beer until the mixture is like a really thick soup.

While the oil reheats, clean and skin the fish and cut into 6-8 pieces. When choosing the fish for this dish, you want to look for a white, flaky fish such as pollack or haddock. Many stores will also sell cod; however, Atlantic cod is overfished, making it an unsustainable choice.

Drop the fish into the batter, coating the entire surface. Then slowly lower the fish into the hot oil. Fry in batches until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.

Serve the fish and chips on newspaper with a wedge of lemon and tartar sauce. You can make a quick homemade tartar sauce by mixing together mayo and dill pickle relish. For added flavor, we also sprinkled on a 10-year aged apple cider vinegar... Yum!